After the Degree: Séamas Mac Giolla Mhaith

Graduating from Maynooth University in 2016 with a degree in Business and Management, I ended up stumbling into my course. Down to the fact that I hated my other two Arts selections – Chinese and Politics, because I had a deathwish – I began to resent it towards the end. While I can’t say if pressed I would go back and study the same subject again, I still feel finishing out the course benefited me. Now, I feel I can persevere through something that doesn’t particularly stimulate me, if it means in the end I’ll be better for it.

Right now I’m currently working in Tokyo, Japan. As a conversational English teacher for a major chain of schools in Japan, it is certainly not the kind of work my degree lends itself to – although we do teach Business English sometimes. I have found myself teaching children as young as 3 and adults as old as 86. My time in Maynooth University somewhat prepared me for this: essentially, I have to talk incessantly about things non-stop for a couple of hours a day.

Getting to meet very interesting people gives me the opportunity to discuss about a complete array of things ranging from pizza toppings (a classroom favourite) to the socio-economic difficulties in Asian countries (not my forte). The “Maynooth Experience” helped prepare me through the adventure of being thrown into a small society with people of all genders, backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities and having to navigate my way through this. I learned plenty by being an obnoxious emotional mess at times, and also by being willing to accept those flaws and discovering more about myself and the world.

What is the most exciting to me is that there is still so much to learn about myself and even more about other people. Sometimes I’m able to toss out my generic Business degree buzz words like “tech-savvy”, “premium pricing strategy” and “integrated marketing communications” to name but a few, but  I suppose I have Maynooth University  to thank for all that. While it may not have been the course of my dreams, I feel like I got a well rounded education, but only because I wanted to. If you come into Maynooth and sit back and expect all the knowledge to come to you, you’re definitely wrong. you have to want to learn, to change, and to grow.

Now as I have said, I am sitting in some apartment in Tokyo, which is not quite as glamorous as you might imagine (they only give you 5 McNuggets instead of 6!), but still with the zeal and ambition that being a Maynoothian has instilled in me.